The United States is scheduled to list added sugars on nutrition labels by July 26, 2018 unless you have fewer than $10 million in annual sales. Added sugars distinguish from naturally occurring sugars (fruit, milk) versus high-fructose corn syrup.
Canada had a chance to make its mark on added sugars but succumbed to food industry pressure. The Trudeau Government had been expected to utilize the added sugars requirement, which had been dropped by the Harper Government. To the surprise of many, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott didn't include added sugars.
The added sugars proposal was popular among consumers as well as health professionals. Industry officials claimed the body metabolizes naturally occurring and added sugars in the same way.
The decision was made more on politics rather than science, but the oddity is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cites added sugars specifically in the mandate letter to Philpott. Unlike their conservative counterparts in Canada and the United States, the Liberals aren't heavily biased toward corporations.
We did say scheduled for the United States since the orange one may try to divert any progressive legislation on food labels. But the fact that the United States has a policy in place should have given inspiration to Canada. We've argued the countries should have food sovereignty but this was one of the few cases to follow the lead of the United States.
The theory from the food industry in Canada is that the body processes all sugars the same way. Eat a cup of blueberries. Drink a 12 oz. soft drink. Your body can tell the difference. Dietitians have been telling me this for awhile. Hard to believe when Canada can't even get a basic concept that the United States clearly acknowledges.
The other major advantage to listing added sugars is that food companies would be compelled to reduce or eliminate ingredients not conducive to the product such as glucose-fructose in hamburger and hot dog buns. [Glucose-fructose is what Canada calls high-fructose corn syrup.]
Since Canadians who live near the U.S. border often go food shopping in the U.S., they can bring back food with labels so they'll know or take pictures so when they buy the Canadian version, they'll have some clue as to what are the added sugars are in the Canadian food product.
photo credit: FDA.gov